Black Friday Is Not A Sport

BOSTON (WBZ-AM) - There’s no doubt about it, consumer spending drives our economy like no other factor. 

It accounted for 71-percent of our gross domestic product in 2013.

71- percent!

And with the holiday shopping season that kicks off in earnest today accounting for such a huge chunk of the year’s retail sales – not to mention almost 700,000 seasonal jobs – the importance of this shopping binge can’t be overstated.

The spirit of giving is a wonderful thing. 

But a couple of recent academic studies of Black Friday have identified other motives that are in play.

According to the New York Times, one survey of Black Friday shoppers found many copping to bad behavior like berating store workers, trashing product displays, cutting the line and getting into fights with other customers. 

The study’s co-author says these nasty behaviors often stemmed from a perception of unfair treatment by the retailer, being denied a discount or finding they’ve run out of an advertised item.

A separate study found that some Black Friday shoppers treat the sale like a sports event that fires up their competitive juices. And yet another one observed that Black Friday shoppers were “attracted to the ‘hedonistic’ atmosphere.”

To each their own, I guess, and while I want to see all retailers do well this season, is hedonism, competitiveness, and bitterness really what we want the season to be about?

Or, in the more eloquent words of the late Rodney King: “Can we all [just] get along?”

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. Listen to his previous podcasts on iHeartRadio. 

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